THERE’S been a chorus of criticism of the Scottish Government over its recent budget from Unionist politicians and media. But why should anyone be surprised over Scotland’s dismal state? The reason is our status as a de facto English colony.

As a colony, we don’t own our own resources so we can’t provide heat and power for the costs of production, which is what nationalised energy companies do. Instead, our resources are owned by private corporations that cream off profits for shareholders.

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We can’t create our own key industries for transport or control our ports because they are owned by foreign governments and hedge funds. We can’t export our surplus energy for normal commercial prices or control our national grid, because both are in the hands of Westminster.

We lack a central bank to create needed investment and must rely on a foreign bank that doesn’t prioritise Scotland’s interests. We receive back less than half our tax revenues from England yet are expected to be grateful for our “colonial pittance”.

We can’t hold public votes on national decisions that affect every Scot because we’re outnumbered 10 to one in Westminster and Holyrood, a creature of Westminster, has limited powers that can be curtailed and withdrawn any time London wishes.

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We don’t have a Scottish-owned media, but one controlled by international conglomerates and the BBC that bombards us daily with propaganda.

We can’t devise our own foreign policy to enable international diplomacy and trade, nor can we decide whether we want weapons of mass destruction on our soil.

And we can’t end endemic poverty and guarantee everyone a dignified living wage, paid for from the profits of our nationalised energy resources, while we are trapped in the failing UK.

The sovereign Scottish people can and must end this Union.

Leah Gunn Barrett

“PROGRESSIVE taxation” is a system of taxation that effectively assists lower earners while asking those who earn most to pay a little more. In the Scottish budget presented to Holyrood on Tuesday it would appear that paying tax has just become a bit more burdensome for higher earners, but we must look at the bigger picture.

The Scottish Government’s priority spending differs greatly from the spending choices made by Westminster. One such spending difference was the introduction of the game-changing Scottish Child Payment of £25/week to each eligible child. This payment is to receive an increase of 7% to £26.70/week in 2024, a massive increase for more than 300,000 children and their families amidst the cost-of-living crisis. For those going on to further education in Scotland there are no “tuition fees”, a huge advantage for the next generation who will not be saddled with debt at the beginning of their working careers.

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And what about no tax on the sick in Scotland, with the abolition of prescription charges since 2011 (£9.65 per item in England)? Our nurses in Scotland are the highest-paid in the UK, our social care workers are to receive a minimum wage of £12/hour from April 2024.

Those advantages for those of us living in Scotland could have been reversed, could have been stagnated, but instead many have been extended and yes, they do come at a cost, a cost that effectively reaches out to those in need while asking those who earn more to pay more. After all, the advantages of living in Scotland are for us all.

Catriona C Clark

I THOUGHT it was interesting that every mainstream media channel available in Scotland in both TV and the papers all had the same headline: “higher earners to pay more tax in Scotland”.

Not one went with the headline “Good news: the average Scot (median wage £28K) pays the lowest tax in the UK”. I wonder why…

I do console myself that my five adult kids pay no attention to the “mainstream” media and make their own minds up from their own discussions. Scotland's future is bright – the next generation will make it so.

Robert Allan

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I CANNOT surely be the only one who can see through the rank hypocrisy when it comes Labour’s approach to the Scottish budget?

For Labour in Scotland, the budget is the result of years of “chaotic incompetence” by the SNP. Meanwhile in Wales, where Labour is in administration, the swingeing cuts to that nation’s budget, creating a £1.3 billion shortfall, are due to “Tory chaos”.

Some clarification is clearly required.

Alex Orr

WITH many (most?) politicians and public figures knowingly lying to us, even when they know that we know they’re lying, I thought the following observations might confirm that brass-necked lying in the newspapers isn’t a new or modern concern.

From Humbert Wolfe, poet, 1930: “You cannot hope to bribe or twist, (Thank god) the British journalist. But seeing what the man will do, Unbribed, there’s no occasion to.”

Or this from Malcolm X: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Or, most chillingly, this from Hitler’s propagandist, Joseph Goebbels: “Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play”.

The National is the only newspaper keeping it real. So thanks for that.

Iain McClafferty
via email